[The following profile is part of a series on long-term unemployment in America.]
Nora Omar has been unemployed for nearly two years.
Yet, she still struggles with the decision to apply for unemployment benefits.
“Society in general will always give you a look like you’re on welfare, like you’re taking something that doesn’t really belong to you and you should be ashamed. Well guess what, this is money that I worked for.“
Even after she decided to apply, the process was a nightmare. It took Omar about six months to complete all of the necessary paperwork.
“They are experts into applying all the laws against us people who worked hard to set this money aside for when we need it, which is now. They are very tough and rough and they flex all of their muscles on us unemployed.”
Before her company folded, Omar worked as a software analyst in Denver, Colo. Despite the fact that she worked in the industry for 10 years, she finds that she’s no longer qualified for any jobs in her sector.
“From day one, I noticed that the requirements changed, that they’re looking for robots really.”
But she hasn’t considered taking a lower paying job or one that requires fewer skills.
“To be very honest with you, I have a lot of experience and I am trying not to give up.”
She was so confident in her abilities when she first lost her job that she wouldn’t consider using a temp agency to find a job.
“I thought that I have almost 15 years of experience, I can get good references, I’m a fast learner … “
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